AAMA Releases Document Clarifying Weathering Requirements for Solar Reflective Finishes

The American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) releases a document describing the test procedures and performance requirements for pigmented organic coatings applied to aluminum, fiber reinforced thermoset or wood and cellulosic composite profiles for windows, doors, wall panels, skylights, sloped glazing and similar products. The update is a clarification to the requirements for outdoor or accelerated weathering testing. The document Voluntary Specification, Performance Requirements and Test Procedures for Solar Reflective Finishes was originally released in 2013.

“Advances in coatings technologies for architectural products have provided the opportunity to expand the use of solar reflective coatings,” says Manny Mayer, architectural products manager at Tiger Drylac. “Selecting high-performance coatings with these solar reflective attributes can positively impact the energy efficiency associated with all exterior coated building components. The primary purpose for utilizing coatings with solar reflective properties is to keep the coated surfaces cooler than they would be with standard coatings.”

This specification is a supplement to the existing specifications (AAMA 613, 614, 615, 623, 624, 625, 653, 2603, 2604 and 2605) and does not in any way supersede the performance requirements contained in those documents, particularly the weathering requirements.

AAMA 643-16, as well as other AAMA documents, may be purchased from AAMA’s online store.

NABTU and ACEEE Collaborate to Create Training Opportunities Via Energy Efficiency Program Investments

North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) unveils a collaborative effort that describes the potential to create career training opportunities via investments in energy efficiency programs.

Formal energy efficiency policies throughout our nation are estimated to require the skills of hundreds of thousands of skilled craft professionals. Leveraging these investments to create career training opportunities via a formal apprenticeship training is an ideal scenario.

“As states make the necessary plans for a clean energy future, they should consider the social and economic benefits of their decisions. Energy efficiency programs have the potential to provide jobs and career training opportunities for a significant number of Americans,” commented Steven Nadel, executive director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

As we progress towards a more energy-efficient economy, the manufacturing, industrial, and power sectors are considering investments that will lower their operating costs by conserving energy.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently proposed the Clean Energy Incentive Program that is designed to credit states for early Clean Power Plan compliance action, with the hopes that such a move will spur energy efficiency measures despite the Supreme Court’s decision to stay the climate change rule.

As we have seen with other sectors of the economy, this has the potential to create career training opportunities in the skilled trades, provided that industry, government and labor work in tripartite harmony to make it happen.

“North America’s Building Trades Unions and its signatory contractors invest over $1 billion annually in the world’s most successful skilled craft apprenticeship infrastructure,” said Sean McGarvey president of NABTU. “We have real-world experience in working with businesses, industry, government and community organizations that see the value in leveraging public and private investment so that they create opportunities for career training in the skilled trades, particularly for historically neglected communities, such as women, people of color, military veterans, and urban youth. Energy efficiency investments have that same potential, and we are proud to join with ACEEE to issue a call to make that a reality.”

Click here to read the joint fact sheet.

Dow Plans to Construct Extruded Polystyrene Manufacturing Facility

The Dow Chemical Company announces its plans to construct a manufacturing facility to be located in Burley, Idaho. The facility will be operated by Dow Building Solution (DBS), a business unit within Dow, and produce STYROFOAM Brand Extruded Polystyrene (XPS) Insulation – a thermal insulation solution facilitating sustainability and innovation in the building and construction industry since its discovery in 1941.

Building upon its 75 years of innovation, the STYROFOAM Brand Extruded Polystyrene Insulation facility will come on-line utilizing DOW BLUEDGE Polymeric Flame Retardant Technology – an invention that is transforming the market as the industry standard flame retardant for use in polystyrene foam insulation, as it meets the demands of global energy efficiency regulations and sustainable building design.

The construction of the XPS facility exemplifies Dow’s commitment to the DBS growth strategy and strengthens its ability to deliver sustainable insulation solutions to customers, especially in Western Canada and the United States. The facility also demonstrates Dow’s pledge to provide operations performance in natural resource efficiency, environment, health, and safety, as outlined in Dow’s 2025 Sustainability goals.

“The construction of this facility will allow us to respond to market demand and deliver sustainable building solutions to our customers,” said Tim Lacey, global business director for Dow Building Solutions. “The collaboration with the city of Burley has been critical to reach this agreement and we look forward to continue collaborating together into the future.”

“Dow’s decision to build in Burley speaks about the quality of our workforce, the business- friendliness of our state and communities, and the great diversity that we are developing in Idaho’s economy,” Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter said. “It’s always great to welcome a corporate citizen to Idaho, and I’m excited about the opportunities for existing Idaho businesses to help meet the supply chain needs of this new enterprise.”

“We are thrilled to have a company such as Dow locating in Burley” said Director of Economic Development, Doug Manning. “They are a leader in business and innovation, and the immediate and future economic impact on this community will be exceptional. It’s a ‘win’ for the City of Burley to have a Fortune 50 Company locating here. This has been a collaborative effort from the State, the City, Burley Development Authority, Southern Idaho Economic Development Organization, and other local entities. We are excited to have Dow as a new community partner. They have been wonderful to work with to make this project happen,” he said.

Groundbreaking on the 60,000 square feet project is expected to occur in 2016 with project completion targeted for the latter portion of 2017. Manufacturing of STYROFOAM XPS Insulation is expected to begin in early 2018. Construction of the project will employ approximately 80 workers during peak construction and create 21 full-time manufacturing jobs at the height of operation.

BASF Offers Expandable Polystyrene With Polymeric Flame Retardant Material

As a commitment to the efficiency, sustainability, and safety of its customers, BASF only offers its expandable polystyrene (EPS) with the polymeric flame retardant (PolyFR). Neopor Graphite-enhanced Polystyrene (GPS) provides the insulation industry with a raw material that combines high insulation quality, safety, ease of processing, and low weight, resulting in a contribution to global climate protection goals.

“Our customers look to BASF to provide high-quality materials,” said Luis Espada, business manager, Neopor Insulation North America. “The change to PolyFR in our products is an example of the commitment to continually enhancing our product portfolio.”

PolyFR also improves the environmental profile of the material, as confirmed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Relevant first tests show the same results and classification as legacy FR products, such as ASTM E84, UL S701, NFPA 286, and NFPA 285.

“Switching to PolyFR guarantees the supply of eco-efficient thermal insulation products for sustainable building and construction in the future,” said Giorgio Greening, BASF global business unit, Styrenic Foams. “Energy efficiency in the commercial and residential construction section is now a bigger challenge than ever for the entire value chain. As a raw material manufacturer, we want to supply our customers with quality materials with optimal properties.”

Neopor is a registered trademark of BASF SE.

Complete Cool Roof System Extends the Service Life of New and Existing Roofs

Rhino Linings released a complete cool roof system engineered to improve building energy efficiency while extending the service life of new and existing roofs.

Rhino Linings released a complete cool roof system engineered to improve building energy efficiency while extending the service life of new and existing roofs.

Rhino Linings Corp., a manufacturer and distributor of spray-on protective linings, coatings and foam, released a complete cool roof system engineered to improve building energy efficiency while extending the service life of new and existing roofs.

The DuraTite spray polyurethane foam (SPF) roofing system holds a UL 790 Class A fire rating and is designed to provide a lightweight insulation system over various roof constructions and configurations. Unlike traditional roofing methods, DuraTite SPF roofing system offers a high R-value for superior thermal insulation, covers complex geometrical shapes and protrusions and applies directly to existing substrates in new and retrofit applications.

In addition to DuraTite SPF roofing system’s high-performance, it also offers significant life-cycle cost savings. An SPF roofing system is seamless and requires little-to-no maintenance. Roofing topcoats, like DuraTite acrylic, silicone, urethane and polyurea coatings may be reapplied numerous times, increasing the life of the roof.

The complete system combines spray foam with a full range of acrylic, silicone, urethane and polyurea coatings for a total roofing system that insulates, seals and protects. Products in this system include:

  • Acrylic Coatings — DuraTite 1065 and DuraTite 1070 single component, acrylic roof coatings demonstrate excellent adhesion to polyurethane foam, concrete, masonry, primed metal, primed wood and primed asphalt roofs. When applied at 12 DFT (dry film thickness) and fully cured, DuraTite 1065 and 1070 exhibit exceptional weatherability and resistance.
  • Silicone Coatings — DuraTite 1380 and DuraTite 1395 are high-solid, single-component, silicone coatings with low VOCs and excellent chemical and abrasion resistance. When applied, DuraTite 1380 and 1395 form a breathable membrane, making it an ideal choice for new and recoat applications over metals, single-ply membranes, masonry block, concrete and spray polyurethane foam roofing systems where moisture may be present.
  • Urethane Coatings — DuraTite 1175 and DuraTite 1285 are high-solid, single-component urethane coatings that can be applied in a wide range of ambient temperatures and humidity levels. Both offer superior impact and crack resistance. DuraTite 1285 also offers enhanced UV stability.
  • Polyurea Coatings — DuraTite 2185 is a fast set, rapid cure, 100 percent solids, plural component aluminized polyurea spray-applied lining offers enhanced UV stability and remains flexible in cold temperatures. DuraTite 2185 demonstrates exceptional adhesion to spray polyurethane foam, concrete, bitumen and asphaltic roofing felts, steel, wood and most substrates in extreme cold and warm climates.
  • Spray Polyurethane Foam — DuraTite CC 2.5, DuraTite 2.8 and DuraTite 3.0 closed-cell polyurethane foam products’ lightweight, seamless construction ensures leak-proof performance and allows for value engineering labor and material cost savings.

DuraTite SPF roofing system guide specifications and five-, 10-, 15- and 20-year warranties are available for use on roof substrates, such as metal, built-up roof membrane, single ply, wood recoat and concrete.

AIA Committee on the Environment Studies Award-winning Sustainable Design Projects

In order to examine how the architectural community is evolving in regards to sustainable design practices, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Committee on the Environment (COTE) undertook an in-depth study of nearly 200 COTE Top Ten Award winning projects encompassing almost 20 years.

The findings have been compiled in a report, Lessons from the Leading Edge, that reviewed a variety of performance measures, including energy efficiency, water conservation and indoor environmental quality to evaluate how these exemplary projects demonstrate COTE’s mission to “enhance both the design quality and environmental performance of the built environment.” The research represents the most comprehensive study of the COTE Top Ten program to date.

“Top Ten winners are an extraordinary group of case studies from the leading edge of sustainable design over the past two decades,” says Lance Hosey, FAIA, lead author of the report and a member of the COTE Advisory Group. “The projects have been studied and published widely as individual projects, but never as a group—until now. What we found is that Top Ten winners are outpacing the industry by virtually every standard of performance, but they also exemplify the integration of design excellence and sustainable performance.”

Key takeaways from report:

  • Many project examples show extraordinary performance at very low or average costs, dispelling the misperception that higher building performance requires higher costs.
  • Projects range in size from small houses under 1,000 square feet to community master plans at millions of square feet.
  • The average energy savings for these projects is 54 percent better than industry standards. In the past five years, the average energy savings has improved to 65 percent, exceeding AIA 2030 Commitment targets.
  • The average water reduction is 52 percent better than industry standards.

The majority of projects are in urban locations, while less than one fifth are found in rural areas. One third of all Top Ten winners are located on the West Coast of North America.
COTE founding chairman, Bob Berkebile, FAIA, adds: “We have seen a significant transformation in how these project examples have evolved and advanced. Initially, the design teams were acutely focused on efficiencies within an individual building and in recent years they are also looking at more horizontal and far-reaching economic, ecological, social equity, public health and resilient outcomes.”

Recommendations for architecture and design industry:

  • Embrace design before technology to improve performance and quality.
  • Study best practices for higher performance at lower costs.
  • Pursue post-occupancy evaluations as standard practice to understand better how actual performance aligns with design intent.
  • Promote more ambitious adaptive reuse projects to preserve existing building stock and conserve resources more extensively.
  • Drive greater awareness of the health impact of building materials and need for better indoor air quality.

Improve Attic Ventilation Airflow

GAF has made available its Cobra IntakePro Rooftop Intake Vent, which promotes energy efficiency and helps guard against roof system rot, ice damming and mildew growth.

GAF has made available its Cobra IntakePro Rooftop Intake Vent, which promotes energy efficiency and helps guard against roof system rot, ice damming and mildew growth.

GAF has made available its Cobra IntakePro Rooftop Intake Vent, which promotes energy efficiency and helps guard against roof system rot, ice damming and mildew growth. It can also improve attic ventilation airflow by up to 20 percent when installed with existing soffit/undereave vents in a properly balanced ventilation system (based on GAF ASHRAE airflow testing at 5-mph wind speed). The vent, which rolls out and fastens with included 1 3/4-inch coil nails, is fully tested to withstand wind-driven rain, snow and ice-dam infiltration (under controlled GAF laboratory testing).

PACE Financing is the Key to Unleashing Energy-efficiency and Renewable-energy Retrofits in Commercial Buildings

Architects, contractors and managers who make a living improving the energy efficiency of buildings know the drill: They fight hard for cost-effective energy-efficient designs, and they fight even harder to ensure these designs and systems survive cost-cutting efforts that can arise.

Through the GreenFinanceSF program, San Francisco-based Prologis used PACE financing to fund lighting upgrades, HVAC improvements and rooftop solar. These upgrades reduced purchased electricity costs by 32 percent. PHOTO: PACENation

Through the GreenFinanceSF program, San Francisco-based Prologis used PACE financing to fund lighting upgrades, HVAC improvements and rooftop solar. These upgrades reduced purchased electricity costs by 32 percent. PHOTO: PACENation

Technically sound projects don’t always get off the ground for several economic reasons. Sometimes the split incentive embedded in leases means the owner makes the capital investment but the tenant reaps the economic benefit. Other times, architects, contractors and managers must face the fact that they simply cannot get internal capital allocated to energy-efficiency projects despite their undeniable cost effectiveness. For small business owners, it can come down to lack of funds. For larger companies, the capital allocation process often translates into investment hurdle rates that are hard to attain because energy-efficiency projects must meet two- or three-year simple paybacks.

If an energy retrofit project makes economic sense and internal capital won’t be allocated to it, textbooks suggest the use of external capital. In practice, it’s not that easy. For small business owners, getting third-party financing often requires personal guarantees, some equity investment or other conditions. For larger companies, the use of external capital involves lengthy discussions that may include the downside of borrowing when a building’s holding period is up in the air, the cost of project capital versus corporate debt, and the balance sheet impact of the borrowed funds.

Enter Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Financing. PACE is a tax-lien financing program that allows interested property owners to finance qualifying energy-efficiency and clean-energy improvements on their properties through a voluntary benefit assessment placed on their property tax bill.

This exciting form of third-party financing provides unique benefits to building owners:

The 542 Westport Avenue Shopping Plaza, Norwalk, Conn., financed a $285,000 lighting upgrade, which reduced electricity costs by more than $17,000 per year. PHOTO: Hartt Realty Advisors LLC

The 542 Westport Avenue Shopping Plaza, Norwalk, Conn., financed a $285,000 lighting upgrade, which reduced electricity costs by more than $17,000 per year. PHOTO: Hartt Realty Advisors LLC

  • The cost of PACE financing and the benefits generated can be shared with tenants, thus eliminating the split-incentive issue that derails so many energy-efficiency projects.
  • One-hundred percent of project costs, including soft costs such as development fees, can be financed through PACE, which removes the requirement for out-of-pocket expenses for owners.
  • PACE financing is available with flexible terms up to 20 years, making it possible to generate positive cash flow—and operating income—from projects with simple paybacks as long as 12 years. This increased operating income translates to higher property values for building owners.
  • PACE is entirely property-based financing. As a result, it requires no personal or corporate guarantees.
  • PACE is attached to a property tax bill, so the obligation to repay the financing automatically transfers to the new owner upon the sale of the property, along with the energy-saving benefits generated by the project. This eliminates any holding-period concern owners may have.
  • It’s generally accepted that PACE does not affect a building owner’s typical loan covenants, such as debt to equity ratios.

PACE funding is provided or arranged by a local government for 100 percent of a project’s costs and is repaid with a voluntary assessment during a term of up to 20 years. The property owner pays its typical tax bill, which now includes the PACE finance charge, and the local government redirects that payment to the investor.

Capital provided under a PACE program is secured by a lien on the owner’s property. Like other tax assessments, PACE assessments assume a first lien priority and the repayment obligation automatically transfers to the next property owner if the property is sold.

Similarly, in the event of default, only the payments in arrears would come due and the PACE financing does not accelerate. Because assessments are repaid through the property tax bill—a secure payment stream—PACE projects are seen as less risky than other financing mechanisms and, therefore, benefit from lower interest rates from the private sector with no government financing required.

The 542 West Avenue Shopping Plaza features a solar canopy that powers the exterior LED lights. PHOTO: Hartt Realty Advisors LLC

The 542 West Avenue Shopping Plaza features a solar canopy that powers the exterior LED lights. PHOTO: Hartt Realty Advisors LLC

PACE builds on a long history of benefit assessments that a government can levy on real-estate parcels to pay for the installation of projects that serve a public purpose, such as sewers and sidewalks. PACE serves a public purpose by reducing energy costs, stimulating the economy, improving property valuation, reducing greenhouse-gas emissions and creating jobs.

Pioneered by the city of Berkeley, Calif., in 2008, PACE is now a proven and effective tool to attract private capital to clean-energy projects. Commercial PACE programs are currently operating in 16 states and Washington, D.C., including more than 2,000 municipalities.

More than 700 energy-efficiency retrofits have been financed to date by commercial and industrial building owners using PACE. Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group, a global leader in retail real estate and an S&P 100 company, first used PACE in 2009 and has accelerated its use since then. Prologis, a leading developer of industrial real estate, used PACE to perform an energy-efficiency and renewable-energy retrofit at its headquarters in San Francisco in October 2012.

In Connecticut, hundreds of owners have elected to use PACE to retrofit their buildings, including the Norwalk Center, a family-owned shopping center, whose owner found PACE was ideal to finance energy-efficiency and renewable-energy improvements. In Bridgeport, Forstone Capital used PACE to retrofit the mechanicals and envelope of its 100,000-square-foot office building, which will save the owner nearly $250,000 in energy costs annually. Without PACE, it would have implemented only a fraction of its desired work scope.

Property owners across the U.S. are using PACE because it saves them money and makes their buildings more valuable. PACE pays for 100 percent of a project’s costs and is repaid for up to 20 years with an assessment added to the property’s tax bill. PACE financing stays with the building upon sale and is easy to share with tenants.

PACE is a simple and effective way to finance energy-efficiency, renewable-energy and water-conservation retrofits to buildings. Building owners who want to take advantage of PACE financing can find out where PACE is available via PACENation, a recognized source of impartial, independent and consensus-based information about PACE.

DOE Recognizes West Palm Beach for Improving Energy Efficiency

As part of the Obama Administration’s efforts to cut energy waste in the nation’s buildings, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recognized the city of West Palm Beach for their leadership in improving energy efficiency across 1.4 million square feet of building space by 20 percent within 10 years. The city of West Palm Beach has met their Better Buildings Challenge goal of 20 percent energy reduction and yesterday Mayor Jeri Muoio announced a new 15 percent energy reduction goal for 2025.

“West Palm Beach’s constant drive toward energy efficiency demonstrates to other cities across the U.S. what is possible with energy efficiency,” says Maria T. Vargas, director of the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge. “When cities lead the way with essential and innovative energy efficiency upgrade projects, they are demonstrating the leadership that we need to carry this nation’s buildings into the 21st century.”

The city of West Palm Beach is planning on committing a number of new buildings to receive a variety of energy efficiency upgrades, adding on approximately 130,000 square feet of building space to the Better Buildings Challenge.

The department toured the city’s Evernia Garage, LED street light retrofits and the East Central Water Reclamation Facility. The East Central Regional Water Reclamation Facility receives wastewater from the cities of West Palm Beach, Lake Worth and Riviera Beach, as well as the town of Palm Beach and Palm Beach County. The new Biosolids Improvement Project is currently under construction, and city of West Palm Beach announced that the site will be added to its portfolio of Better Buildings Challenge projects, along with Fire Stations No. 4 and No. 8, which will be rebuilt to meet LEED Silver standards and the Banyan Garage, which will be transformed into an iconic, multipurpose building, targeting LEED Gold or Platinum.

“Energy efficiency projects accomplish so many of our goals. We can improve public safety, reduce maintenance costs, reduce our carbon footprint and save money on our energy bills, which provides more resources for other programs that serve the citizens of West Palm Beach,” says Jeri Muoio, mayor of West Palm Beach. “We are proud to set an even higher efficiency goal with the Better Buildings Challenge, which demonstrates our commitment to these types of collaborative initiatives into the future.”

In 2011 the city initiated a comprehensive upgrade of street lights to new LED technology, which represented 25 percent of the city’s energy expenditure in 2010. The resulting fixture replacements are credited for enhancing public safety, reducing energy consumption and a 54 percent energy savings on streetlights. Through a collaboration with the utility, Florida Power and Light, West Palm Beach is reporting $160,000 per year in energy savings, and is dedicated to funding $2.5 million over five years to retrofit more than 3,000 more streetlights.

As a cornerstone of the President’s Climate Action Plan, the Better Buildings Challenge is aimed at achieving the goal of doubling American energy productivity by 2030 while motivating corporate and public-sector leaders across the country to save energy through commitments and investments. More than 250 organizations are partnering with the Energy Department to achieve 20 percent portfolio-wide energy savings and share successful strategies that maximize efficiency over the next decade. Across the country, partners have shared energy data for more than 32,000 properties and are reporting energy savings of 20 percent or more at 4,500 properties, and 10 percent or more at 12,000 properties. Learn more about Better Buildings Challenge partner results, showcase projects and innovative solutions being shared with others on the DOE’s Better Buildings page.

MiaSolé Solar Modules Are IEC and UL Certified and Class A Fire Rated

MiaSolé's CIGS-based, thin-film FLEX-02 solar modules are IEC 61646, IEC 61730, UL 1703 certified and UL 790 Class A fire rated.

MiaSolé’s CIGS-based, thin-film FLEX-02 solar modules are IEC 61646, IEC 61730, UL 1703 certified and UL 790 Class A fire rated.

MiaSolé announces that its CIGS-based, thin-film FLEX-02 solar modules are IEC 61646, IEC 61730, UL 1703 certified and UL 790 Class A fire rated. The MiaSolé FLEX module is a high-efficiency flexible, lightweight thin-film solar module, with production efficiencies of 16 percent. The FLEX module provides high power density for many types of applications—from roofing to reservoir and landfill covers, to auto, truck and other transportation applications through off-grid and consumer applications. The FLEX modules are produced in high volume at MiaSolé’s Heyuan, China, factory, which has passed UL, IEC and ISO9001 qualifications.

FLEX-02 modules provide customers significant benefits. The low weight of the module (less than 0.7 pound per square foot) allows installation on roofs and other structures that cannot support the weight of traditional glass solar panels. Because the FLEX-02 modules adhere directly to the surface of the structure or object, there are no penetrations or damage. The FLEX-02 is also aesthetically pleasing, blending into roofs, vehicles and other structures and preserving the original look without unsightly racking. The low-profile FLEX-02 module provides wind resistance and a seismic advantage over traditional rack-and-panel systems where their higher profile increases the likelihood of damage in a hurricane or earthquake.